Sian Clifford (best known and BAFTA-winning, Emmy and Critics Choice Award nominated as Claire, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s uptight sister Claire in the global phenomenon ‘Fleabag’) and Nikesh Patel (‘Foaly’ in ’Artemis Fowl’, directed by Kenneth Branagh) are to star in the global online premiere of ‘Good Grief’ by Lorien Haynes.
‘Good Grief’, directed by Natalie Abrahami (‘Anna’ at the National Theatre, ‘Machinal’ at Almeida), is a romantic comedy about grief. Sharp, funny, brutal, irreverent and quintessentially British.
At a time when the theatre world is faltering, with theatres closed and jobs cut, this online filmed production sees the convergence of a new theatre and screen team to create a theatrical format which will stream online and be downloadable worldwide, giving employment to the industry. ‘Good Grief’ will be rehearsed on Zoom, then filmed in a studio adhering to all Covid protocols.
Sian said: ”It’s neither film nor theatre, it’s a hybrid that’s why it’s so thrilling to be part of it, something that is so innovative and has been born entirely of this chaos. It’s really thrilling, a bit of a brain maze, structured around the stages of grief. I always said it would take a lot to get me back on stage, but the play blew me away, I absolutely tore through it, it made me weep. And I loved the idea of doing something radical and helping save our industry and to keep people engaged with the arts.”
Tickets launch on December 15 via Original Theatre and ATG tickets, with the production available to view from February 15, 2021.
Also part of this predominantly female strong team are Isobel Waller-Bridge, re-partnering with Sian Clifford having worked with Sian on ‘Fleabag’, who is developing the sound design and score. Alongside her is Fin Oates as Editor, (‘I Hate Suzie…’), award-winning Emma Dalesman as Director of Photography, Natalie Pryce as Production Designer (winner, Production Designer, Black Theatre Awards 2020).
Gala Gordon and Isabella Macpherson, of Platform Presents will co-produce with Amy Gardner of Finite Films.
‘Good Grief’ follows the success of Platform Presents’ world first, online, live, theatrical production of Tom Stoppard’s ‘A Perfect Peace’ starring David Morrissey, Jenna Coleman, Denise Gough, Ed Stoppard, and Maggie Service, which garnered a clutch of 5-star reviews in in May 2020. It will be the first in a season of productions streamed online which can be viewed across the world, from the best seat in the house – your own.
Writer Lorien Haynes said: “When I wrote ‘Good Grief’ – as a heartfelt one act comedy – no one said it was long enough to produce on stage. For it to have a life now – virtually – at a time where we miss and need theatre – is a truly wonderful thing. Theatre has to survive and our art adapt, to make storytelling vital in the midst of this pandemic. I am so grateful for this short, sharp play to get out there – and shout ‘GO THEATRE. We’ll be back’. I hope this new stage, the 45-minute virtual playing space, raises the curtain for fresh work, new playwrights and new form of theatre to guide us through these trying times. It should be there to remind people that we will always find a way to tell our stories. Whatever we are up against.”
Director Natalie Abrahami said: “It’s thrilling to be collaborating with Platform Presents again and forging a way to harness theatre in a different way at this moment in time. Our production of Lorien Haynes’ ‘Good Grief’ is a love-letter to theatre. It reminds us of the theatre that we love and miss, whilst finding a way to transpose the theatre into a different medium where we retain the immediacy and vital relationship between actor and audience that is at the beating heart of theatrical experience. I am excited to be working with such a talented company on screen (Sian Clifford and Nikesh Patel) and behind the scenes (Emma Dalesman, Fin Oates, and Natalie Pryce).”
Sian Clifford playing the role of Cat
Sian Clifford is a BAFTA-winning, Emmy and Critics Choice Award nominated actress, known best for her role as Claire in the global phenomenon and critically acclaimed FLEABAG (Winner of numerous awards including six Primetime Emmy Awards, Golden Globe, BAFTA, Critics Choice and SAG Award). Sian has worked extensively in British theatre on some of the UK’s most illustrious stages to great critical acclaim. She starred in the highly celebrated West End production of CONSENT, directed by Roger Michell. Her television credits include Sky One’s HITMEN and the second season of ITV’s psychological thriller LIAR. Earlier this year, Sian featured in Sky One’s comedy TWO WEEKS TO LIVE, alongside Maisie Williams. Sian starred as one of the leads in Stephen Frears’ QUIZ, alongside Matthew Macfadyen and Michael Sheen, which went onto become ITV’S most-watched TV drama of the year. This year Sian won Actor of the Year at Stylist’s Remarkable Women Awards and most recently won the BAFTA for Female Performance in a Comedy.
Nikesh Patel playing the role of Adam
Nikesh Patel most recently starred as ‘Kash’ in Mindy Kaling’s ten part FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL for Hulu and played ‘Foaly’ in Disney feature ARTEMIS FOWL, directed by Kenneth Branagh. Other recent work includes MAN LIKE MOBEEN, feature film HALAL DADDY and two series of INDIAN SUMMERS. Nikesh trained at the Guildhall School of
Drama and was a winner of the 2010 Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow.
Writer – Lorien Haynes
MA in Film Studies and Screenwriting – First Class BA Honours in Drama and Film University of East Anglia UK – WGA member since January 2013. Lorien moved to the US from London to write for film and television; beginning with a series of shorts for Jon Avnet and Rodrigo Garcia’s Wigs. She has subsequently written three half hour comedy pilots, a feature with Oscar nominated producer Matthew Cooke and an adaptation of Lynn Shelton’s Your Sister’s Sister for the stage. In 2013, Oscar nominated director Amy Berg asked Lorien to write and produce her documentary feature about child abuse in Hollywood: An Open Secret screened at Cannes and was released in the US in 2015. Lorien’s screenplay adaptation of her first play, Good Grief, was shortlisted for the NYWIFT Writers Lab and for the WGAW Feature Access Project . It reached the semi-final and final 12 women writers of The Academy Nicholl Fellowship  and graduated to the second round of The Sundance January Screenwriting Lab, . ‘Good Grief’ the play, was workshopped for New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theatre season 2016 with John Slattery directing and Mamie Gummer, Ben Lawson and Charlotte Parry cast. It was workshopped at The Cherry Lane Theatre in Jan 2018 under the new title Butterside Down. Butterside Down has subsequently been selected by 59E59 for its NY premier in August 2019. Lorien has just completed her third original play The Lift [a sci-fi about immigration and reproductive rights in 2030] and is work-shopping her second play, A Man and a Woman, about the impact of sexual assault on a
woman’s relationship history. She has co-written a film adaptation of The Taming of The Shrew and has two projects in development with UK producers This Red Rock Ltd: The Actress – a half hour being pitched to Netflix with Janet McTeer starring and Sharon Maguire directing. And War Reporter – a one hour about a complex female war correspondent. She is currently developing a fourth half-hour, Are You Being Served? with Damian Harris.
Director – Natalie Abrahami
Natalie Abrahami is a theatre, opera and film director. Natalie read English Literature at Cambridge University and started out at the Royal Court as a Graduate Trainee before training with the Young Vic and National Theatre. She was awarded the James Menzies-Kitchin Award for Emerging Directors in 2005. Between 2007 and 2012 Natalie was Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre, Notting Hill with Carrie Cracknell. During their tenure they were awarded the Paul Hamlyn Breakthrough Fund for Creative Entrepreneurs. Natalie then went on to join the Young Vic as Genesis Fellow and Associate Director 2013-16. She has also been Associate Artist at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton and at Hull Truck. Work for theatre and opera includes: Swive [Elizabeth] (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe), ANNA (National Theatre),The Meeting (Chichester Festival Theatre), Machinal (Almeida), Wings, Happy Days, After Miss Julie and Ah, Wilderness! (Young Vic); Queen Anne (Royal Shakespeare Company and Theatre Royal Haymarket); How the Whale Became and Other Tales (Linbury, Royal Opera House); The Eleventh Capital (Royal Court); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Headlong); Pericles (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre); Yerma (Hull Truck); Play and Not I (Battersea Arts Centre). Natalie’s productions at the Gate Theatre include Vanya and The Kreutzer Sonata (which later transferred to La MaMa, New York). Film credits include Mayday, The Roof and Life’s a Pitch. https://natalieabrahami.co.uk/
Gala Gordon & Isabella Macpherson – Platform Presents
Platform Presents was founded to create a platform for rising talent: actors, writers and directors, with a particular interest in female voices. Gala Gordon and Isabella Macpherson produce theatrical productions alongside films. They founded the now annual Platform Presents Poetry Gala in aid of the Platform Presents Playwright’s Prize to nurture and encourage new writing talent. https://www.platformpresents.com @platformpresents
Amy Gardner – Finite Films
Amy set up her own UK production company www.finitefilmsandtv.com in 2008. She has produced and exec produced a number of features as well as documentaries and supports new talent with their short films. Full list of projects on IMDB: https://m.imdb.com/name/nm1945266
Editor – Fin Oates
Fin Oates is an editor whose recent long form credits include: ‘I Hate Suzie’ directed by Georgi Banks-Davies and Anthony Nielson for Bad Wolf/Sky; ‘The Letter For The King’ directed by Charles Martin for Netflix and two seasons of ‘The Royals’ for Lionsgate. Fin edited the web series ‘Mum Listen’ for Two Larks and ‘Cindy, a short directed by Rosanagh Griffiths. Assistant Editor credits include: ‘The Long Song’ (directed by Mahalia Belo); ‘The Innocents’ (directed by Farren Blackburn and Jamie Donoghue); ‘Poldark’, ‘Clique’, ‘The Last Kingdom’, ‘SSGB’ and ‘A Quiet Passion’ (directed by Terence Davies).
DATES & PRICES
Ticket prices will be as follows:
December 15th launch – £29 – Early Bird until December 24th to be sold via ATG Tickets, Original Theatre and Time Out
From 25th December to 31st January – £34
1st February onwards – £39
£150 – To include a signed script.
Digital programmes will be available for £2.50 from Original Theatre
GOOD GRIEF COMPANY
Writer – Lorien Haynes @lorien_haynes
Director – Natalie Abrahami @natalieabrahami
Actor – Sian Clifford @sianstillspace
Actor – Nikesh Patel @inikeshpatel
Director of Photography – Emma Dalesman @edalesman
Second Camera Operator – Ben Baily
BTS Camera Operator – Elijah Grant
Production Designer – Natalie Pryce @natlaurap
Lighting & DIT – Helen Vidler
Editor – Fin Oates
Composer / Sound Designer – Isobel Waller-Bridge @isobelwb
Sound Recordist – Rowena Coleman
Sound Mix – Rory de Carteret & Gibran Farrah
Grading – Holly Greig
Hair and Makeup – Charlotte Broadbent
Producer – Gala Gordon, Platform Presents @galagordon
Producer – Isabella Macpherson, Platform Presents @isabellamacpherson
Producer – Amy Gardner, Finite Films @ahkgardner
Platform Presents – www.platformpresents.com